The success story that is Bodrum’s marina industry shows no sign of coming to a close. This tiny peninsula that juts into the sea at the point where the Aegean and Mediterranean meet has gone from a collection of sleepy fishing villages to one of the Mediterranean’s foremost sailing destinations. Due in no small part to its marina developments Bodrum is now on the radar of some of the world’s biggest movers and shakers. Bill Gates quietly moored his superyacht in Yalikavak last summer, while Roman Abramovich counts Bodrum among his favourite destinations. Jagger, Rothschild, Windsor - the list of Bodrum’s big-name visitors reads like the guestlist of the world’s most exclusive party.
Bodrum Palmarina is the latest marina development to open on the peninsula’s shores, set to cement Bodrum’s reputation for high quality marina facilities in a world-class location.
But before we get into the whats and wheres of Palmarina, let’s explore Yalikavak. What is it about this town? What happened to transform this once small fishing village into one of the most important stops on a Mediterranean sailing tour. We talk to one of Yalikavak’s newer residents to try and discover the secret of Yalikavak’s appeal.
Brit Kurt Connell has been using Yalikavak as a springboard to sail the Turkish coastline since 2004 and now owns an apartment in Bodrum overlooking Yalikavak Bay. The former Newcastle resident says Yalikavak’s wide bay means it’s an ideal place to moor. “It’s a sheltered spot and the bay is wide enough to accommodate boats of all sizes. The water gets deep once you’re offshore so larger boats can also moor there.” On an aesthetic level, Connell says Yalikavak is one of the most spectacular spots in Bodrum, citing the area’s famous sunsets. “Have you seen a sunset here? Well, the whole town is bathed in this amazing glow, it’s like a small miracle every evening. You’ll usually see people quietly gathered at the waterfront, just taking it all in.”
Connell also says the town’s restaurants are some of the “best I’ve experienced anywhere in Turkey. Food here is world class. Completely fresh, with seafood caught that day.”
Connell says that Palmarina could also turn out to be another Yalikavak miracle. “It’s incredible what’s been achieved in such a short time. I think this is going to be a turning point for the peninsula and how people see it.”
Formerly Port Bodrum Yalikavak Marina, the complex was bought by the prestigious Palmali Group last year and developed under the keen eye of its founder, Azerbaijani entrepreneur Mubariz Mansimov.
After a lightning-fast development lasting just a year, Palmarina Bodrum opened with a flourish a couple of days ago and has been lauded for its design and its state-of-the-art technology and equipment. More than just somewhere to moor your yacht, the whole complex is redolent with luxury, sophistication and style - which is exactly what its owners have strived for.
Luxury shopping centres, a Turkish bazaar and a ‘Fisherman’s Village’ are carefully set out in a spacious, large complex. A number of excellent name-brand cafes and restaurants ensure your experience is complete (for what Turkish experience isn’t complete without food and drink?). World famous brand Cipriani has opened a glamorous eatery and an installment of the moneyed Billionaire Club. Perched on a rocky promontory at the edge of the marina, its white pavilions surround a waterfront pool.
The marina also has every other facility you’d expect at a five-star resort: a fitness centre, a heliport, medical facilities and children’s facilities.
However, let us not forget the main purpose of the marina: Palmarina’s modern facilities will have berths to accommodate 450 yachts of up to 50 metres in length. Larger yachts of up to 100 metres will be accommodated in stern-to and alongside berths. A 100-ton and a 300-ton travel lift will soon be installed. A slipway boasts ‘the best technical equipment in Bodrum’, according to the marina’s website.
Bodrum Palmarina Facts
|Turkey's highest mega and giga yacht capacity marina|
|710 berth capacity on water|
|69 berths for mega yachts of 40 metres and over|
|140 boat capacity winterage service (on-land service area)|
|Only marina in Turkey with Lloyd’s Register of Shipping (LRQA) certificate ISO 9001 - 2008|
Don’t expect the Palmali Group to rest on its laurels now that the marina is up and running. Another project is underway to increase the superyacht berthing facility to cater to up to 700 yachts of up to 100 metres in length. The shopping mall is to be expanded and a ‘recreational island’ with a seawater pool will be built. The marina will soon offer high speed trips to Greek Islands.
The effect of the marina on Yalikavak is expected to be electric. Tourism officials are expecting increasing numbers of visitors this summer season, including a number of high profile, superyacht owners. The local economy will be boosted by the extra buzz centred around the marina.
Economic indexes in similar locations around the Mediterranean in countries such as Spain and France have shown that once a marina is developed the local economy tends to embark on an renaissance. More businesses open, creating jobs for the local community. Increased cash flow to the local community fosters new enterprises and causes peripheral tourist industries to grow - such as diving and sailing schools and boat tours.
The effect on property prices is startling when the so-called “marina effect” begins to act on real estate prices. Extra visitors and a higher profile are already pushing up demand for Bodrum real estate, which as every would-be economist or investor knows has a positive effect on price.
However, by looking at similar areas around the Mediterranean, we can predict what will happen in Yalikavak. Real estate analyses tell us that property prices in similar locations have risen up to 30% faster than comparative property in non-marina areas. In simple terms, anyone purchasing a Yalikavak marina property for £250,000 in 2013 will find that (providing the economic conditions stay favourable) their property will be worth £461,000 - an increase of 65% in value. In contrast, an identical property that is not near the marina will be worth £402,000 and will have increased by 50%.
Projects like the Palmarina, paired with Bodrum’s increasing reputation as a playground of the rich and famous and Turkey’s increasing visitor numbers will likely contribute to ordinary investors being priced out of the market, or relegated to settlements outside the coveted Bodrum Peninsula.
However, McConnell remains optimistic for Yalikavak’s future. “This whole area’s changed even in the short time I’ve spent here. Sure there are some celebrity visitors that get everyone excited. But the ‘old’ Yalikavak that captured my imagination is still here, and not going anywhere soon.”
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